As quick and surprising as former US Commerce Secretary Bill Daley’s entry was into the Democratic gubernatorial campaign, so too is his exit. Daley, also a former White House chief of staff to President Obama, had been challenging Gov. Pat Quinn in the Democratic primary. Quinn assumed office when then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) was sentenced to prison and then won a razor-thin one point victory in the regular election against Republican Bill Brady back in 2010.
With Quinn’s approval numbers lagging and the state facing serious financial difficulty, Daley launched his effort to deny the governor renomination in April when he formed an exploratory committee. But now the former cabinet secretary and son of legendary Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley says he cannot “commit to what the voters may need,” meaning that he does not feel up to serving at least five and potentially nine years (counting the campaign time) in order to get the state “on the right track.”
The decision is good news for at least two people, Gov. Quinn and the eventual Republican nominee. Quinn will now likely avoid a serious primary contest that could heavily damage him for the general election. Early polling showed both he and Daley in the high 30s percentile. Obviously, an incumbent failing to break even 40 percent among members of his own party is a clear sign of inherent political weakness.
Despite abandoning his campaign, Daley reiterated that he believes he could win the race and that Quinn will lose his re-election, asking for “forgiveness” for being honest. Through the last financial disclosure report in June, Daley had raised over $800,000 for his gubernatorial campaign. He says he will conduct an audit of his committee and return contribution money that was not already spent.
Four candidates are vying for the Republican nomination, including state Sen. Brady who almost defeated Quinn in the 2010 cycle as mentioned above. State Sen. Kirk Dillard, who previously lost a close Republican nomination fight to Brady, is back for another attempt, while state Treasurer Dan Rutherford and businessman Bruce Rauner make their first run for governor.
While the Democratic primary has now effectively been cleared, all the Illinois action will shift to the general election.
A new Public Policy Polling survey (Sept. 13-16; 1,038 registered New Hampshire voters) tested several people against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and the numbers show improvement for the Republicans.
Though there does not appear to be any major activity suggesting that former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) will follow through on his suggestion earlier this year that he might move to the Granite State to challenge Shaheen, he has improved his standing. According to the PPP data, he trails the Senator only 44-48 percent.
Last week we mentioned that former Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH-2) has confirmed that he is considering a senatorial run. PPP tested this pairing and found Sen. Shaheen to be leading Bass by 10 full points, 51-41 percent.
The senator’s job approval index registered 49:42 percent favorable to unfavorable, weaker than in earlier polls but still in positive territory. Shaheen remains a decided favorite to win a second term.